Cubes of Wombat Poo: An Affordable Housing Construction Inspiration?

Image of wombat
Wombat photo by James Niland is licensed under CC BY 2.0
The cuddly wombat: down-under marsupial or affordable housing hero?

In a natural world of a gazillion beautiful curvy shapes, one in particular stands out: wombat poo, or poop if you prefer.

We’ll pause here while you revert to late-preadolescence for some toilet humour giggling.

Recovered now, have you? So why does wombat poo stand out? Because of its unusual mathematical precision. It is cube-shaped.

Think of the human intestinal system. Indeed, think of pretty-much all animal intestines  — a long bundle of soft, lumpy snake-like shapes. How could such a flexible tunnel produce precise shapes with sharp corners? The pain! It hardly bears thinking about.

But painful or not, intrepid scientists have been thinking about it and studying it. Now, finally, they have come up with an explanation. Their research suggests just how a flexible hose can produce the kind of mathematically precise shape that is a foundation of house building: the cube, and in particular, those cuboid shapes such as bricks.

You’ve no-doubt noticed a relatively recent addition to the construction industry: trucks with long-reaching flexible arms that pump concrete to distant forms. Imagine the possibilities of construction pumper trucks with long floppy intestinal-like tubes that literally shit bricks!

Read more about how it happens, and watch a cuddly wombat at CNN: Wombat Poop: Scientists Have Finally Discovered Why It’s Cubed